Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Leicester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on September 14, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Manchester United are fortunate to have the services of Marcus Rashford in their ranks since the forward has taken up a lot of the goal-scoring responsibilities for his side in recent past. However, Mundo Deportivo now points out that things could have been different as the English player had said yes to Barcelona last summer, before finally negating the said option.

As the Catalan giants still continue their search of an elusive forward, we take a look at what might have been the case for Messi and company had Rashford joined them.

The rise of Marcus Rashford

It would be unfair to say that Rashford was any less important to the United team in the previous seasons, but his contributions to the team’s success this term have been unparalleled. The 22-year-old has scored 14 goals this time from 22 appearances. He has been electrifying for the Red Devils on the left side of the pitch, and the team have often looked up to him in times of crisis.

Although Rashford primarily operates from the left side of the frontline, his versatility is praiseworthy. He has been deployed at the centre of the pitch as well as the right side at times and at all the positions he has displayed his talent.

The primary facet of Rashford’s play is his dribbling skills, with the England international amassing two dribbles per game in the league. This has helped him to get past his defenders in 1v1 situations. The other quality of the Englishman is his passing ability, with him making 1.1 key passes per game.

BARCELONA, SPAIN – MARCH 07: Quique Setien, Manager of Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Sociedad at Camp Nou on March 07, 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

These two attributes put the opposition defenders in a dilemma as they cannot decide whether to close him down or to track him from a distance. If the defenders try to close the space, there is a chance of him beating them with a dribble, and in the other scenario, he gets ample opportunity to make a cross or a long pass.

Needless to say, the Man United player is also adept at shooting, achieving 3.4 shots per game this season. Not only has he scored enough goals for himself, but he has also made four assists for his teammates, highlighting his all-round involvement in the squad.

What could have been his role at Barcelona?

Throughout this season, Barca have struggled on the left side of the pitch. Players have been made to play out of their position, and the output has been low from that end. Although Ansu Fati has done well for himself and the team from the left side of the pitch, it can be safely said that he is still extremely raw and needs time to develop.

In this situation, Rashford could have been the perfect man for Setien, and the manager would not have had to think about that position anymore. Playing with the likes of Messi and Busquets would have honed his skills further, and the direct approach that Rashford provides would have added a new dimension to the Catalan club’s attack.

Overall it is time to say what is Barcelona’s loss is Manchester United’s gain and the extent to which he would have bolstered the squad is anybody’s guess.

Stats from Whoscored.